Made in Indiana: Sour Punch candy by American Licorice Co.

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Photo courtesy of American Licorice Co.

History: Chicago resident Martin Kretchmar founded American Licorice Co. in 1914. The Kretchmar family still runs the business, with CEO John Kretchmar (a great-grandson of Martin) at the helm since 1995. Sour Punch candy, a treat that combines sweetness and acidity, was launched by American Licorice in 1990.

Headquarters: In 2005, American Licorice Co. took over a former Whirlpool Corp. parts distribution facility in La Porte. American Licorice maintains its headquarters in La Porte, where the company employs nearly 400 workers and occupies more than 300,000 square feet for office and production tasks.

Tart variety: Sour Punch candy—not to be confused with Sour Patch candy—can be purchased in the form of bites, twists and straws, with a roster of flavors that includes strawberry, blue raspberry, green apple, cherry, grape and watermelon. A dusting of sour sugar is a constant.

Punching up: Josh Griffin, director of operations for American Licorice Co., said Sour Punch has experienced a 20% to 30% growth in business since 2020. “People like sour confections, and luckily for us, we’re a leader in that market,” he said.

Availability: Sour Punch candy is sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Griffin said distribution in Chile is in the works.

Family in California: American Licorice Co. also produces Red Vines, the movie-theater snack that’s manufactured at a plant in northern California.

Green thoughts: American Licorice plans to make all of its plastic packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Fun fact: Griffin said workers in the La Porte facility made 35 million pounds of Sour Punch candy in 2022.

Website: sourpunch.com

Compiled by Dave Lindquist

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